4 most surprising moves the Ravens made as part of final roster cuts
The Baltimore Ravens have nearly finalized their 53-man roster with a little over a week to go until the team’s Week 1 matchup with the New York Jets.
Roster cuts have been made, the initial waiver wire wave has come and passed, and the practice squad is nearly complete. The result is an almost complete look at the roster the Ravens will roll into Week 1 sporting.
As with every year, there were some surprises, both as it pertains to the Ravens and the rest of the NFL. Those are the moves we’re going to talk about today.
Let’s take a look at the four most surprising moves the Ravens made over the last 48 hours.
4. The Ravens sign Kenyan Drake
It’s important to note that surprise doesn’t necessarily mean bad here. In fact, the signing of Kenyan Drake, while surprising, is certainly a move that should help bolster the Ravens’ backfield.
Drake was surprisingly released by the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday and quickly scooped up by the Ravens the following day. Adding another veteran to the team’s running back room makes plenty of sense.
Gus Edwards will be sidelined to start the year. J.K. Dobbins isn’t a lock to play Week 1 and is still recovering from an injury of his own. Behind Mike Davis, the options were scarce.
The addition of Drake is a wise one, although it’s a move that few probably expected going into the week.
3. The Ravens waive Isaiah Mack
Isaiah Mack was one of the standouts of the summer for Baltimore and made a strong push for a spot on the 53-man roster. Ultimately, it just wasn’t meant to be though.
The Ravens did bring back Mack on their practice squad and the fact that he was able to clear waivers is a surprise in its own right. Eric DeCosta and company should be counting their blessings that Mack is still a member of the organization.
The 26-year-old was a victim of the numbers game but should be the first defensive lineman called upon if the injury bug strikes and could see time early in the year with rookie Travis Jones still recovering from a knee injury.
2. The Ravens aren’t able to keep Tony Jefferson
It wasn’t a total surprise that Tony Jefferson was among those released on Tuesday. The nine-year NFL veteran was the fifth safety on the depth chart and was never a lock to make the 53-man roster.
That said, most assumed that Jefferson would either be brought back on a handshake deal or on the practice squad. At the very least, it was assumed that, if Jefferson did leave, it would be because he received an opportunity to be on an active roster elsewhere.
Instead, Jefferson simply signed on to the New York Giants practice squad, reuniting him with former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.
It’s certainly odd that Jefferson seemingly chose the Giants over the Ravens. Maybe Baltimore didn’t offer him a practice squad spot, or maybe he just chose Martindale over the Ravens.
1. The Ravens release Tyre Phillips
The most surprising move the Ravens made over the last 48 hours was the team’s decision to release offensive lineman Tyre Phillips. It’s not as if waiving Phillips doesn’t make sense.
The former third-round pick lost the starting left guard job to Ben Powers and was the subject of trade rumors leading up to cutdown day. Still, most didn’t expect the team to just outright release him.
Phillips was the Ravens’ Week 1 starting left guard and someone who has the versatility to play either tackle or guard. It’s safe to say that many eyebrows were made by this decision.